Your life as it is today is the sum of your habits. Your health, your mood, and your success are all direct results of your habits. The activities you repeatedly engage in ultimately shape who you are. Whatever you do repeatedly forms the life you’re living. If you continuously engage in bad habits, they will break you. But if you gradually implement a wide variety of good habits, they can transform your entire life. With every day, you get to decide what kind of future you want to create. If you start replacing unbeneficial behavioral patterns with more beneficial ones, you can gradually build a better future. Even small changes can make a great difference. The following presents you a list of 50 good habits that can help you to transform your life. All of these daily habits are easy to implement but exceptionally powerful.
In the beginning, it can prove to be especially helpful to closely analyze the behaviors you engage in during your day-to-day life. You’ll notice that some of these activities are quite beneficial and help you to get closer to your goals. Some other behaviors, however, are nothing else but disruptive and lead you astray. Many of these bad habits silently sneaked into your life, without you noticing anything at first. But after a certain while, the constant repetition of a negative behavior forms new neurological pathways. The behavior has now become a bad habit that exerts a powerful impact upon your life. Once the habit is established, it is very difficult to get rid of it again. But it can be done.
“We are we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Bad habits can be broken by replacing them with more beneficial ones. You’ll find that this process is not easy. Establishing good habits takes time and diligence. It is, therefore, all the more important to find powerful methods that assist you in letting positive behaviors become automatic, which can greatly aid you in building a new habit. One such method is if-then planning (also known as implementation intentions). Scientific research on this subject suggests that you’ll have a significantly higher success rate at establishing a new habit if you use if-then plans.
In other words, by setting a trigger for a specific behavior (“if […], then I will…”), you can increase the likelihood of forming a new habit out of it. For instance, instead of saying, “I want to eat less chocolate,” you could state, “If I crave chocolate, then I will eat a large vegetable snack first.”
In short, in order to develop good habits, you need to gradually replace bad behaviors with more positive ones. Additionally, these new behaviors need to be repeated for long enough until they become automatic. In the following, you’ll find a list that helps you to find inspiring ideas of positive habits that can help you to affect change in your life.
50 Good Habits to Transform Your Life
Without further ado, here is the ultimate list of good habits. Pick the habits you find the most beneficial for your circumstances and start transforming your life step-by-step.
Let’s start with some of the most powerful habits you can implement in your life. Every single one of these habits holds the capacity to affect powerful change in your life. The list is then continued with beneficial habits that can be easily implemented in your life.
Exceptionally powerful habits
1. Wake up early.
The key to peak performance is to get enough sleep. As such, it can make a great difference to shift from being a night owl to an early riser. Waking up early can, among many other benefits, dramatically increase your productivity. For this reason, many of the ultra-successful get up really early in the morning. They stress that this habit did not only contribute greatly to the accomplishment of their goals but also enabled them to establish a beneficial balance in their lives. By going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up early, you can bring balance to your life and enjoy the benefits of greater levels of concentration.
2. Live to learn.
Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington are all known for their curiosity and willingness to keep learning something new. By developing the habit of exploring new topics or deepening existing knowledge, you can make a great difference in your development. All it takes is the willingness to continuously keep boosting your learning curve. Become a lifelong learner. It doesn’t even take much time. 15 minutes a day can already produce some remarkable results. You could start by reading a couple of pages of an interesting non-fiction book each day.
Instead of trying to tackle multiple tasks at once, prioritize your responsibilities. Focus on addressing the most important tasks first. At the same time, it is not only important to prioritize your tasks but also your goals and leisure activities. You may find, for instance, that watching TV is of a lesser priority than pursuing your goals. Put aside everything that does not contribute to the accomplishment of your goals. If it does not add value or meaning to your life, it’s probably not of a high priority.
4. Develop resilience.
Resilience can greatly help you to bounce back whenever you’re confronted with misfortune and failure. By developing the mental capacity to cope with difficult times, you can better focus on adapting and finding solutions to the problems you’re confronted with. You can strengthen your resilience, for instance, by believing in your ability to find solutions during times of adversity. Keep going when you’re confronted with trials and tribulations. Start taking one step after another until you’ve finally worked yourself out the difficulties.
5. Practice gratitude.
Cultivating gratitude is perhaps one of the most effective habits to live a happier and more fulfilled life. If you are able to be thankful for even the smallest aspect of your life, you can break free of the (oftentimes painful) pursuit of ever more. It will help you to find joy and meaning in what you have and makes you less dependent on the acquisition of material belongings. Gratitude can also help you to be more content with having less.
6. Motivate yourself.
If you’re capable of igniting the fire of motivation within you, it will fuel all your endeavors. However, no one else can ignite that fire but you. Others can try to motivate you, but the fire will quickly extinguish. It is, therefore, all the more important to know how you can effectively motivate yourself. Practice self-motivation each day in order to keep fueling the pursuit of your dreams.
Almost all top performers visualize themselves succeeding one way or the other. It is a really simple technique that can provide impressive results. By visualizing desired outcomes, you can train your subconscious mind to assist you in taking the necessary steps towards the accomplishment of your goals. The reason why visualization is so powerful is that the mind cannot differentiate between a real-life experience and something that is intensively imagined. Scientific research has even highlighted that those athletes who visualized a specific exercise experience almost same strength gains than those who actually performed the exercise.
8. Think positive.
The way you think can make or break you. Positive thinking can help you to expect positive results, even when confronted with obstacles. Thinking positively will fuel your conviction that you can find solutions to overcome the challenging difficulties you’re facing. Even more so, positive thinking can improve your overall health and helps you to reduce stress.
9. Learn to say “no.”
The ability to say “no” is an integral aspect of living a healthy, productive and focused life. Saying “no” does not only have to do with learning to reject tasks once you’ve reached your limit. It also has to do with your ability to avoid distractions in order to stay focused on your aims and dreams. Learning to say “no” will help you to spend more time pursuing the things that are really important in your life.
Something that most extraordinarily successful individuals have in common is their great passion for reading. Mark Cuban, for instance, attributes his willingness to invest time in the acquisition of knowledge as an important factor for gaining competitive advantages. But he also speaks of the fact that reading books has helped him to develop ideas for his businesses.
11. Adopt a beginner’s mindset.
More often than not, we approach life with many assumptions and preconceptions. As a result, we limit our progress and begin to feel comfortable with habitual modes of thinking. Cultivating the beginner’s mind can effectively bring change to this situation. It is a concept practiced in Zen Buddhism that allows you to approach life with an open mindset. Instead of assuming that you already know everything there is to know, it helps you to approach life with greater curiosity and interest. The beginner’s mindset can also liberate you from past knowledge in order to keep an open mind about new information.
12. Set goals.
If you have no goals in life, you’re more likely to wander off in multiple directions without ever reaching the destination. In order to steer all your actions in one direction, it takes SMART goals. They will give you direction and provide the necessary focus to overcome obstacles on your road to success. The great power of goals can be best utilized by writing your goals down. In addition, make it a habit to review or adjust your goals regularly.
Meditation is perhaps one of the most undervalued habits. At the same time, it is an incredibly powerful tool to train your mind. Scientific evidence has shown time and time again that meditation can profoundly change many aspects of your life. It can relieve stress and reduce depression. Additionally, meditation can help you to overcome fear-based thinking. Learn more about meditation here: How to meditate.
Regular physical activity provides great benefits. Not only does it help you to keep your body healthy, but it can also help you to improve your mental health. By practicing regularly, you can boost your energy and overall mood. If you struggle with the fact that you delay exercising “until tomorrow,” it may be quite beneficial to set the goal of exercising daily instead. Once the habit of daily exercise is established, you will no longer be tempted by excuses to delay what needs to be done.
The people around you can greatly influence who you are. For this reason, it may prove to be quite beneficial to surround yourself with positive, life-affirming and uplifting people. These are the people who will help you to grow and thrive as an individual. Networking can, in this context, be exceptionally helpful to meet these kinds of people and to form relationships with them.
16. Simplify your words.
There are many people who use sophisticated words to sound intelligent. In most cases, however, all it does is to perplex or confuse the listener. Those who are incredibly successful in life often have in common that they are capable of explaining complex subjects in simple terms. By sharing your message in a simple and understandable manner, you’ll be more likely to convince others of your ideas.
17. Ask more questions.
Far too often, we accept assumptions as reality. We assume a great number of things, without ever seeking to explore if they are actually true. Assumptions can, therefore, be quite an obstacle in your life. By asking yourself and others a lot more questions, you can avoid making wrong assumptions about your life. It can also help you to get to the root of things. In some cases, these answers may not always be comfortable. They will confront you with the harsh reality. But at the same time, it prevents you from self-deception.
18. Make room for something new.
In many situations in life, it’s necessary to abandon the old in order to make room for something new. This principle is not only limited to the process of replacing bad habits with positive ones. Instead, it applies to almost every area of your life. By letting go of the old, by abandoning negative mindsets, beliefs and habits, you can make room for progress. Without the willingness to let go, there is less room for growth.
19. Live with congruency.
Live your life in accordance with your beliefs and values. Have the courage to reject tasks and responsibilities that do not align with your ideals. It may be quite difficult at times to be congruent, but you will almost always regret later on when you sacrifice your ideals for other people or professional accomplishments. Instead, live with integrity and act on your words.
20. Spend less than you earn.
The key to good money management is to spend (much less) than you earn. This can be accomplished by not buying things you don’t really need. It might even be a great idea to develop a more minimalistic approach to life, which can greatly help you to free yourself from many of the negative side effects of consumerism. At the same time, try to avoid buying things on credit.
21. Save at least 10%.
The second step of good money management is to save at least 10% of your income. It is a habit that can gradually transform your personal finances.
22. Become a single-tasker.
Many people pride themselves on being proficient multi-taskers. However, scientific studies have shown time and time again that the human brain is not capable of performing multiple tasks at the same time. All multi-tasking does is to decrease your productivity. Instead of trying to handle multiple tasks at once, try to focus on one activity at a time. You will see that this habit helps you to significantly improve the output of your work.
23. Strife for mastery.
Usually, we pick up an activity and pursue it until we’ve reached a certain level of proficiency. But we quickly become bored of it and replace it with something else. Doing so gives us ordinary skills in a great variety of activities without ever excelling in one particular category. So instead of allowing discouragement to draw your attention away, seek to master the activities you pursue. Don’t be mediocre at many things, master one thing at a time.
24. Eat healthy.
An imbalanced and unhealthy diet can make it even more difficult to cope with the struggles of your day-to-day life.
By eating healthy you do not only supply your body with all the nutrients it needs, but you also lay the foundation upon which you can build a happy and fulfilling life.
25. Meet decisions more efficiently.
Your decisions can make or break you. Even more so, your success can greatly depend on your ability to meet the right decisions in an efficient manner. The great problem is that many people delay decision-making by overthinking the problem. They are afraid of making the wrong decision, which paralyzes them. They do not only seek to meet the right decision, but they also want to meet a perfectly thought-through decision. What they forget is that making a decision, no matter if it’s right or wrong, is radically better than not meeting any decision. Try to meet decisions that balance both swiftness and reasonability. Instead of wasting precious time on remaking your plans over and over again, act upon your decisions and make adjustments as you move on. Indecisiveness only kills your productivity.
Let’s continue with some habits that you can be easily implemented in your life.
Good habits that are easy to implement
26. Make lists.
Writing a list of all the tasks and responsibilities that need to be addressed can greatly help you in prioritizing (see #3 Prioritize). The list can also give you a great overview of the tasks you’re confronted with. This can help you to assess the importance and urgency of individual tasks much better. By making a list and prioritizing your tasks, you can better focus those activities that are the most important. Once you’ve prioritized your list, address the 5-7 most important tasks, while ignoring all other distractions.
27. Stretch regularly.
Stretching is a wonderful habit that can be easily developed. Not only will this habit increase your flexibility, but it also helps your body to better cope with many of modern day’s challenges, such as sitting for too long in an office chair.
Expressing your thoughts on paper (or digitally) can greatly help you to reflect on your experiences in life. It’s a fantastic habit that many enjoy tremendously because it helps them to clear their minds. Writing can further help you in coming to terms with problems that have haunted you for years. As such, writing down what bothers you can be truly relieving.
29. Stack habits.
Building a new habit from scratch can often prove to be extremely difficult. Luckily, you can apply the concept called “habit stacking” to establish new habits more quickly. This can be done by stacking a new behavioral pattern on top of an already existing habit. Doing so will allow you to embed new behaviors within the existing network of neurons formed by current behaviors. For instance, if you stretch your back after getting up in the morning, you can stack a stretching habit on top of it by continuing the routine with a couple of stretches. This will make it much easier for you to form the new habit than it is to build a stretching habit from scratch.
31. Make use of affirmations.
Positive affirmations can greatly help you to reduce the self-limiting impact of negative thoughts. These negative thinking patterns can be quite destructive, which is why it is so important to replace them with more beneficial ways of thinking. This can be done by using affirmations that lift you up and increase your courage to keep pursuing your goals. Tip: Practice your affirmations in front of a mirror. It will make the affirmation even more effective.
30. Listen to podcasts.
Podcasts are a wonderful way to accelerate your development in life. They can help you to gain a refreshing perspective and to learn many new things. Listening to podcasts will greatly inspire you and contributes greatly to your growth. At the same time, it is a much better form of entertainment than mindlessly watching TV for hours. There’s much more you can gain from listening to some excellent podcasts than watching TV can ever give you. It’s also a great investment you can make in your future that is both entertaining and inspiring.
31. Always define the most important task/objective.
Prioritizing may not always be enough. What is necessary is to specifically define the most important task or objective of the day, the month or even the year. You may have many priorities in mind, but there is always one specific task or goal that is more important than anything else. Define this task and tackle it when your attention span and concentration are at their highest levels.
32. Cook more often.
In times of ever-increasing workload and looming deadlines, it’s incredibly difficult to find enough time to cook. It can make a refreshing difference in your life to reestablish the habit of cooking regularly. Not only is it wonderful to know that you’ve prepared your own food, but the entire process is also quite calming and helps you to be more mindful about what you eat.
33. Fuel your inspiration and motivation.
By surrounding yourself regularly with inspiring and motivating material, you can fuel the inner fire that keeps you going. No matter if you read inspiring biographies, listen to motivational podcasts/audiobooks or watch brilliant documentaries/speeches, they can greatly influence what you make of your life. Use these materials as companions on your road to success.
34. Smile more often.
As contradictory as it sounds, smiling can lift your mood. The reason for this is that the human mind continuously interprets the position of your facial muscles. When you smile, your muscles take a position that your brain associates with positive emotions, such as happiness and joy. For this reason, make it a habit to smile, even if you don’t feel like it.
35. (Re-) connect with nature.
When we’re young children, we spend almost entire day outside playing in the streets or in nature. As we grow older, this habit slowly but gradually is replaced with other activities. It can be tremendously joyful to re-establish the old habit of going out in nature and spending your time outdoors.
36. Under-promise and over-deliver.
Instead of making big promises that you cannot live up to, try to keep the expectations low and over-deliver on what you’ve promised. It will help you to avoid the pressure of having to meet big expectations while clearly knowing that it’s almost impossible to do so.
37. Do something new every day.
Make it a habit to break your routines and to introduce refreshing change to your life.
38. Eat more mindfully.
By taking yourself the time to eat more consciously, you will not only pay more attention to what you eat, but you will also eat less. So instead of trying to eat as quickly as you can, try to eat more mindfully. Enjoy what you eat and chew more thoroughly.
39. Eat healthy snacks.
Snacking can be an incredibly difficult habit to break. However, you don’t necessarily have to stop eating snacks. Instead, see if you can substitute unhealthy snacks, such as chips, cookies, donuts and chocolate, with healthier alternatives. Use fruits, nuts, seeds or vegetables instead.
40. Make time for yourself.
By taking some time out of each day only for yourself, you can greatly increase your happiness. The time you spend with yourself allows you to pursue the things you are passionate about and helps you to clear your mind.
41. Let the day come to an end.
The importance of allowing the day to gradually come to a close cannot be stressed enough. Instead of working or watching TV shortly before going to bed, take at least half an hour to let your mind come to rest. You could read a book or practice meditation during this time. You will quickly notice how much of an impact this can have on your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.
42. Enjoy the little breaks in life.
We’ve become so accustomed to technology that we no longer enjoy the little breaks life offers us. Instead, we check our notifications on social media, chat with our friends or read newsfeeds. It’s not only incredibly distracting, but it also prevents you from ever having a true break. You can avoid this by making at a habit to make more use of your little breaks. Lean back, relax and simply do nothing for a couple of minutes. You’ll see how greatly refreshing such a quick break can be.
43. Meet new people.
It can be truly refreshing to meet someone new on a regular basis. Not only will many of these people inspire you greatly to keep pursuing your dreams, but they can also enrich your network. All that matters is to meet the right kind of people who share similar goals in their professional or private lives.
44. Learn from the experts.
In addition to meeting new people, seek to learn from the respective leaders of their fields. It may not always be possible to meet these experts in person. But there’s always the option of reading their books, blogs or various other documentations of their lives. Learning about these people’s lives can greatly inspire you to keep fighting for your dreams. It will show you what these people were willing to do in order to accomplish their aims. And in turn, this will motivate you to be more persistent in the pursuit of your goals.
What greater joy could there be than to explore life’s manifold expressions? There’s so much to discover in this truly miraculous world that you could spend your entire lifetime exploring this world and everything in it. But it’s important to take yourself the necessary time for this exploration of life. Even if you’re a disciplined, goal-driven and productive person, exploring can add great value to your life. Unfortunately, most of us seldom use the opportunities to explore something new.
It can make a great difference if you’re able to give another person your full attention. Most conversations are characterized by people’s attempt to dominate the conversation. At the same time, most of us often think more intensively about how we can convey our own ideas instead of actually listening. But if you learn to listen more closely, your counterpart will feel much more appreciated, which helps you to improve the quality of your relationships. It will also help you to become more persuasive and a better negotiator.
47. Live with less.
Simplifying can profoundly transform many aspects of your life. You don’t necessarily have to become a minimalist. All it takes is to be more mindful in your buying choices and to think about your consumption habits. At the same time, it may prove to be extremely liberating to become less dependent on the acquisition of material belongings.
48. Create morning and evening routines.
Morning and evening routines are quite similar to the concept of habit stacking. By establishing these routines you will prepare your body and mind for the upcoming day or the night’s sleep. It’s a fantastic way to quickly get into the right mindset.
49. Enjoy the sunrise or sunset.
When was the last time you’ve enjoyed the magnificent beauty of the rising or setting sun? It’s such a truly remarkable experience, but more often than not we simply ignore it. Don’t take this beautiful experience for granted. Enjoy it!
50. Live in the present.
Let’s face it, the past cannot be made undone. At the same time, the future cannot be predicted. All we have is this present moment. It gives us the chance to give everything we can to build a better future. However, more often than not, we are not rooted in the present moment. Instead, we are haunted by the past or anxious about the future. It’s an unfortunate situation as it empties the present moment of its power. So instead of worrying too much, seize the present moment to built the fundament for a better future.
Establishing new habits can be a challenging task. Many excuses will come up to steer you off course. At the same time, many of your old behavioral patterns will resurface. Don’t give up during these challenging times. Be patient and stick to the new behavior for long enough. Once you’ve crossed the threshold, you’ll see that a new habit has formed. That’s the point where most of the struggle is over. Even more so, you will notice that you start to engage almost automatically in the new habit.
And always remember, by gradually establishing good habits in your life, powerful change can be affected.
I hope you enjoyed this list of daily habits that can aid you in changing your life for the better.